Part 3, Chapter 3 Summary
A voice at the door of the hut asks the priest if he is finished. The priest looks up and sees that it is the lieutenant. He thanks him for waiting until the gringo died.
He is glad that the lieutenant has come. He is tired of running away. He asks him if he is going to shoot him now, but the lieutenant says that he will stand trial unless he tries to escape again. The rain begins to pour, so they sit inside the hut with the dead outlaw.
The priest tells the lieutenant that they have met twice already: once when the lieutenant asked Brigitta if he was her father, and the second time when he gave him money in the jail. The lieutenant is furious, saying that two of his men died looking for him.
The priest pulls out a pack of playing cards and shows the lieutenant some card tricks. This reminds the policeman of the Guilds, sponsored by the Church when he was a boy. He remembers only that it was a deception, like everything the Church does. The priest agrees with him. He says the lieutenant is angry at God, but the officer says that he does not fight against a fiction.
The priest reckons that it will take two days to reach the capital, where he will be tried. Because this day is Sunday, he will probably be dead by Wednesday. He defends the Church against the lieutenant’s cynicism, saying that they will give the people food and teach them to read, trying to ease their suffering. The lieutenant objects that the poor want to suffer; the priest says that an evil man wants to rape but should not be allowed to do so.
The lieutenant asks the priest why he stayed when all the other clerics ran away or got married. The priest says that he is a coward, so he asked himself the same question. He tells the lieutenant that he has a daughter, born out of his loneliness, but he still loves her. All priests should not be judged by him; he is a bad priest.
An officer arrives at the door of the hut to announce that the rain has stopped. The mestizo appears, having run away. He asks the priest to bless him, but the priest refuses because a blessing is not something that he can sell. In the end, he agrees to pray for him, and the mestizo promises to pray for the priest.
As they leave, the lieutenant asks the priest if he is hoping for a miracle, but the priest replies that miracles are for other people. He asks if they can stop at Padre Jose’s so that he can confess his sins.